Published Date: 2012-06-27 22:08:13
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Peste des petits ruminants - Congo DR (02): emergency, FAO
Archive Number: 20120627.1183031
PESTE DES PETITS RUMINANTS - CONGO DR (02): EMERGENCY, FAO
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 26 Jun 2012
Source: FAO press release [edited]
FAO is mobilizing emergency support for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to counter the rapid spread of peste des petits ruminants [PPR], a virulent livestock disease of goats and sheep.
The disease not only threatens food security in the country but could also result in a spill-over to southern African countries that have never had the disease.
According to the national government's Directorate for Animal Production and Health, PPR has infected tens of thousands of goats, and more than 75 000 have already died from the disease.
The government estimates that another one million goats and 600 000 sheep are at risk of contracting PPR, representing 1/4th of goats and 2/3rds of sheep throughout the entire country. Sheep and goats are generally kept by the poorest farmers, who have the least ability to absorb the loss of one of their few assets.
"This is the worst livestock epidemic in the country in more than 10 years," said the FAO Representative in DRC, Ndiaga Gueye.
"We're seeing that in response to the threat of their animals contracting the disease, farmers are moving their animals away from infected villages to where, so far, there have been no disease outbreaks, which has been spreading the virus to healthy flocks of animals," said Gueye.
A recent emergency mission by the Crisis Management Centre-Animal Health, jointly operated by the FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), reported that the current outbreaks are particularly lethal, with an 86 percent mortality rate in goats.
An FAO emergency project will provide funds for:
- Vaccinating 500 000 sheep and goats in areas that aren't yet affected;
- Limiting animal movements by preventing them from moving to communal grazing areas and temporarily interrupting sale and transport of animals;
- Raising awareness via rural radio and village-level meetings to educate farmers about steps they can take to prevent PPR;
- Increasing active surveillance for PPR throughout the area;
- Training of field veterinarians and para-veterinarians in the recognition of PPR and field investigation techniques.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is believed to have been infected since 2008, when the provinces of Bas-Congo and Kinshasa both reported outbreaks. Neighbouring countries, like Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Kenya and Tanzania, are affected by the disease, and some areas are considered to be endemic.
The Southern Africa Development Community, including Angola, Botswana and Zambia, which are on the frontline of the disease's march southwards, have made stopping PPR a major animal health priority. Eliminating PPR is seen as key to poverty reduction in the world's most vulnerable countries.
"Peste des petits ruminants" [PPR] is caused by a virus that is similar to measles in humans and rinderpest in cattle. When FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) declared rinderpest eradicated in mid-2011, it was the 1st animal disease eradicated by mankind," said Juan Lubroth, the FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer.
"Excellent vaccines exist to protect small ruminants from PPR, and these can be a key weapon in combating it. Rinderpest was eradicated only thanks to the full commitment from donors, the scientific community, development organizations, our main partners the OIE and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), member governments, and farmers the world over to be rid of it. We can do the same with PPR should there be the political will," Lubroth added.
[Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) is closely related to rinderpest virus, similarly a member of the genus _Morbillivirus_ in the family Paramyxoviridae. Four genetic lineages (lineages 1-4) have been identified. Antibodies to PPRV and rinderpest are cross-protective.
Notably, tomorrow, 28 Jul 2012, the international community will celebrate the 1st anniversary of the announcement (by the FAO conference in Rome, 28 Jun 2011) that rinderpest has been globally eradicated.
Rinderpest global eradication was led by the FAO and OIE, assisted by other international bodies. The road-map applied for that end may be exemplary for a wishful effective control and -- in the long run -- hopefully, eventually global eradication of its analogous murrain in small ruminants. - Mod.AS
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1Ahy.]